aNewDomain — Rooney’s got the ball, he’s moving through midfield, crosses to Messi, Messi dodges, moves, takes the strike … it slips through the goalie’s fingers! GO-AAAL! And Manchester has clinched the UEFA Championship.
Puching Zhang here. Today I will dive into “FIFA 15 Ultimate Team” (UT), what is shaping up to be the best soccer game I’ve ever played on a mobile device. Let’s dig in.
Shake, Rattle And Roll
Let me start by saying that “FIFA 15 UT” is a mobile brother to “FIFA 15,” which is a hugely popular console game. “FIFA 15 UT,” however, is not a straight port. In the traditional “FIFA 15” players have access to the full roster of real-world teams, like Bayern Munich or Real Madrid, and can duke it out with these outfits. “FIFA 15 UT” instead makes you play with your own team, and they have poor skills from the start. You can build up characters over time, through gameplay, which can be done in a global multiplayer or during a unique and fun singe-player campaign with real football clubs.
The multiplayer is cool, and the single-player mode? Excellent. The game has over 500 teams that you can play in 30 different leagues. Want to play FC Barcelona? Go for it. Liverpool? Be my guest. You can also play against local MLS teams, which is a nice touch.
You can certainly take on those elite teams, but your players have terrible skills in the beginning, so you’ll probably lose. The system is such that you can buy packs as your team progresses, and these make your players get better, and then you can take on tougher teams in more-advanced leagues.
The exhibition matches are a nice way to ease in, but the tournament feature in single-player mode is awesome. In this you start by playing the lower end leagues in order to unlock the better ones. A-league in Australia is a nice beginning, all in hopes that La Liga in Spain will be unlocked, or even the coveted Premier League in England. Those can only be played after you’ve unlocked them, so there’s quite a bit of incentive to build up your team.
Everything so far about the game is great, but the best aspect of “FIFA 15 UT” is the fact that you can play real time. For mobile this is huge! Usually for this sort of setup, with so many leagues and teams, you simply match up against a team and then the game is simulated, and you are told who won or lost. But “FIFA 15 UT” lets you actually play each and every game, which allows you, personally, to score all your goals. It doesn’t get much better.
GOAALLLS (and bugs)
I don’t know how EA did it, but the graphics in “FIFA 15 UT” are spot on. There is little lag (depending on your device), and the on-screen controller is fairly easy to use — you can move your little guy around easily and switch characters with a tap. But the best part are the celebrations. Every time you knock a ball into the net your players dance around and gloat, with moves like the shoe shine and slide, and even the crowd goes crazy. Sure, the console version has always had these things, but you can’t fit an Xbox in your pocket.
There is one glaring issue with “FIFA 15 UT” — the server is often down. Because the game is entirely Internet-based (a problem in and of itself), you can’t play it at all if the server fails, which means you open the app only to find you can’t log in. When you just want to score some goals it’s quite the bummer.
Overall, this game deserves a 9/10. “FIFA 15 UT” is basically a great console game right on your device. The graphics are superb, the host of game modes will keep you playing and the general soccer experience is mirrored perfectly. Just be prepared for that server failure. The game is free, which makes it even better (but with many in-app purchases). It’s available for Android on Google Play and Apple iOS.
All screenshots: Puching Zhang courtesy of EA